Clementine mopping the Gallery at The Fuse Arts Center
I've got a big hang up on support systems. If you've met me, you've probably heard me rant about how no one can truly do "it" alone (whatever it is - life, a project, existing). Ps. That's not a challenge for you rebellious types out there! Really look at what's around you and what makes you happy. Even if your solitude is appealing, there will always be times when a good friend is necessary.
Because of this perspective, it has caused me to do this activity that I call "community building". In actuality, its just the process of making and keeping friends. In this age of technology, it is funny to me that we are becoming more distanced when the tools to stay connected are so readily available. If it weren't for Facebook, I wouldn't have half my friends and my community would weaken.
I guess I should go ahead and define what I mean when I say community...
In this context, it is a set of individuals that inhabit a similar time, space, consciousness, that unite for shared goals or experiences. It can be friends, a neighborhood, co-workers, or people out there that share your interests that you've yet to meet!
I recently had the experience of feeling drawn to take a class hosted by C4 Atlanta called Artists in the Marketplace. It's a great 3 week intensive class that gets your brain working on all sorts of issues you never realized you had as a feeling, thinking, producing, creative business human. After chatting with the directors, I learned that they needed some cleaning and because I have a strong background in that business and the methods, I offered to help out. I really love being able to offer my community a strong skill that I have honed for many years - even if its just cleaning a toilet well. Makes me think of this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”I think its really important to take advantage of those times when you feel an overwhelming ability to help someone. It is the mode that creates the most genuine expression of that activity. The ripples will peal out over the surface and the deed will affect the most distant shores.
Ps. You guys should check out C4 Atlanta! They are changing the landscape of arts in Atlanta by creating a stronger financially independent community of artists who will blow your mind and enhance your experience of life, as artists are often ethereally charged to do.
The silver lining to this story is that I have extended my community and resources by making new friends. These days, there are very few times when I feel "without" because of the generosity and aid of my community. Even when I am just feeling down on myself, these people come out of the wood work to let me know that they are listening, caring, able, and willing to help. I couldn't be happier to take a sponge to their sinks or chat over green cleaning products...even though that business is a phase of life that I have left behind me.